The International Cycling Union will continue to stand firm on its rule banning radio communications between riders and their teams during races, it announced after its president Pat McQuaid met with team representatives in Aigle, Switzerland today.
The meeting follows rider protests of UCI rule 2.2.024, which has phased in bans of radio communications in all events outside the World Calendar.
Riders defied the radio ban rule at the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca last month, leading the UCI to refuse to record the results. A similar planned protest at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was abandoned after the UCI threatened to cancel the race. The issue of rider safety was the main reason why teams oppose the rule.
McQuaid held discussions over the issue with AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Groups) members Harold Knebel (Rabobank), Patrick Lefevre (Quick Step) and Bjarne Riis (Saxo Bank Sungard) today, according to a UCI press release "in a calm and constructive atmosphere".
The UCI promised to work with race organisers and its commissaires to ensure that the safety of riders is "give the highest priority".
In addition to concerns over safety, teams also opposed the radio ban on the grounds that they had no say in the creation of the rule, a stand which McQuaid called "not at all justified". In the UCI press release, McQuaid stated that there are two members elected to sit on the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) [Dario Cioni and Paulo Couto -ed] whose role is to discuss these matters.
AIGCP president Jonathan Vaughters was preparing to meet with his organisations delegates tonight to form a reaction to the outcome of the meeting, but refuted McQuaid's statements regarding the PCC representation.
"I am one of those representatives. As the UCI states, the PCC's job is to discuss legislation and rules for professional cycling. However, the rule concerning radios was never discussed nor voted on by the PCC. And, as the UCI makes clear, discussion is the only power the PCC has. It does not have voting power in regards to new rules, which is why the AIGCP commented earlier saying that teams and riders have no vote in the rules that govern professional cycling. At this time, we only have the ability to discuss, not vote."
Cioni supported Vaughters's statements, saying he attended the PCC meetings prior to the rule being created. "It is ... clear that the CCP does not write the rules, but can only give their point of view," Cioni told Cyclingnews. "On the race radios I was also in a working group with the specific objective of discussing their use and possible future ban.
"The working group decided to make a recommendation against the ban. This was probably in April . The UCI board decided to go ahead with the ban only a few months later ... So it is true we have (teams and riders) reps on the CCP but we have no decision power."
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